900th Anniversary Poetry Competition

Announcing a poetry competition to celebrate 900 years of Barts and links with Sir John Betjeman, with prizes for the winning entries.

To celebrate the 900th anniversary of St Bartholomew’s Hospital a poetry competition is being launched, with prizes for the winning entries: £250 for an adult and £50 for a child. 

The Governors of the Voluntary Hospital of St Bartholomew invite all who currently or at any time have worked, volunteered or studied at Barts, and their children, to write a poem about the Hospital. 

Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at an evening of entertainment in the Great Hall hosted by the Governors on Thursday, 22 June celebrating the 900th anniversary of the Hospital’s founding and its association with the former Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, who lived nearby in Cloth Fair and was a regular visitor to the Hospital.

Each poem entered must take as its subject some aspect of the Hospital and the care it offers, such as the devotion of its staff and its role in the community, or its history, architecture and special atmosphere. An individual may submit up to three entries, each to be in English and no longer than 40 lines. There is no need to write in Betjeman’s familiar style: a poetic style from any age or culture will be welcome.

All entries must be received by email by 5pm Monday, 5 June – emailed to the Governors’ Secretary, Lizzie Clark

Please include

  • name
  • age (if younger than 18)
  • title of poem
  • current post
  • your link with St Bartholomew’s Hospital
  • your contact details

Entries will be judged by The Venerable David Meara, former Archdeacon of London and author of A Passion for Places: England through the eyes of John Betjeman, Dr Paul Simmons, a Governor and retired Barts consultant and Prof James Owen Drife, retired Gynaecologist and founder of the Abracadabarets.

The Governors of the Voluntary Hospital ran the Hospital for 400 years until 1948 when the NHS was created. They now administer certain charitable funds to support both staff and patients.

Image: Sir John Betjeman by Howard Coster, Bromide print 1953. 

Copyright National Portrait Gallery. Licensed under Creative Commons


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